One year ago today……

Written by AHQ

11 June 2017

One year ago today I was sitting a hotel having spent the day buying new essentials, clothes, toiletries, phone charger cords and so on, after being woken at 1AM by my son to find that our house was filled with smoke. Thankfully, we managed to escape the house, my husband and I, our twin sons and our two precious dogs.  10 minutes after we got out the entire house was engulfed in flame.   We were able to save our cars, phones, my iPad and everyone else’s laptop but mine (Murphy’s Law!!)

Eventually we were able to salvage some more stuff, kitchen items, some linen and clothes but the house was destroyed more or less.   The garage survived, wouldn’t you know it, crammed full of the junk that we did not want in the house!  Oh joy!  Someone has a sense of humour.

As soon as my in-laws had been advised of the fire, I posted it on Facebook as I had to let people know that Aussie Heroes would be temporarily interrupted.  The response was immediate and overwhelming.  So many people got in touch, phone calls, emails, facebook messages, texts, you name it they came my way. People I knew and people I didn’t. A Go Fund Me page was started up and that was amazing.  Whilst the money raised by that has been so appreciated and helpful, the comments and messages that came with it were where the real value was for me mentally.

I have not had one nightmare or bad dream. I have been able to keep a positive mental attitude to life and to our reconstruction.   People say I am resilient but it is easy to be so when you know there is so much support and for that I will be eternally grateful to all of you who reached out to my family and I and who still check up on me and us.   Thankful is too small a word. 

Resurgent is the motto on HMAS Darwin and CAPT Terry Morrison reminded me of that within days of the fire when he and his wife checked in with us.  “Rise like a Phoenix” became my motto, just like that of Darwin Flight.

So now an update of where we are at.  Our block of land is still empty. We started off with working with the insurance company in control of the re-build but decided that was not the best fit, nor was it going to get us what we wanted and needed with enough peace of mind so we switched and now our re-build is being managed by a local builder in whom we have an immense amount of faith.  So far he is doing a great job and is going the extra mile to make sure the house is built and we are in it as soon as possible. 

As the one year anniversary ticks over we are still in our rented home.  It is small but manageable.  There is room for me to run AHQ (just) though it does rather dominate the house, just ask anyone who has been here but fortunately my husband does not mind watching TV in the lounge room surrounded by laundry bags and quilts. 

The re-build is finally about to start.  The block is vacant, with the exception of our spa… lol ….. and some garden. Preparation has begun in readiness for the slab which is probably a week or so away.  With all the rain we have been having in Sydney pouring concrete is not a good thing to do right now anyway. 

It is expected that we will be in the house somewhere around February or March next year. Keep your fingers crossed please as I want/need to have at least one knee reconstruction surgery in April next year and want to be in the new house and not moving house when that happens.

Also on the home front, my husband, who was working as a consultant for Defence when the fire hit last year is now in a full-time job in Canberra for the next couple of years.   We have just made and had accepted an offer on a small townhouse down there. No, I will not be moving to Canberra. I have a house to build up here, and then I actually want to live in it, but the house in Canberra will enable me to share the commuting with my husband and spend some weekends in Canberra.  Owning a house means we can skip paying kennel fees and I can take the dogs with me. 

So that is where we are at 12 months down the track. 

Again, from the bottom of my heart, I cannot thank you enough for the support and encouragement I received following the fire. What should have been the most devastating event of my life became an amazing experience. People have horrible things happen to them all the time but the horror of the situation was well and truly eclipsed by the amazing support we received.

Thank you is not enough.

Till next time…… thank you, thank you, thank you.

Jan-Maree xxx

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  1. Outback Crafter - Debra

    12 months.
    So glad there is light on the horizon for you in regards to your house.

  2. Robyn Hanstock

    My prayers and best wishes for your future and that of your family, Jan-Maree. It has been a pleasure and a privilege to start to get to know you and to sew for Aussie Heroes since I signed up at the Sydney Quilt Show last year, just after you lost your house. I look forward to many more years with AHQ and great ones for you, especially.

  3. Unknown

    Strange, I was thinking wonder where you were at recently. Glad things are moving forward.

  4. barbara woods

    so glad things are going good. our quilt qroup had a speaking from Quilts of Valor for this month , I told them about you! Stay safe my friend


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